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Welcome - The International Writers Magazine - September 05

Editorial: September 9th 2005

For almost two weeks now we have watched stunned as the chaos in New Orleans and other cites along the Gulf cost seemed to grow worse by the day. It's a modern tragedy. Now everyone is trying to blame someone else for the failures to save those thousands left behind to starve or die or just to decend into anarchy. Of course if the Mayor had forced everyone to leave it might have been better, but was the weather alert telling him it was a Category Four Hurricane? Why didn't he provide transport to get the poor out of the city? Why didn't they leave?
Why are some still there, despite the Army going from door to door to get them out.? Is property worth more than life itself?

Questions will be asked about why it took so long for President Bush to act, why soldiers didn't arrived the day after? Why FEMA seemingly did nothing. Indeed blocked efforts by others to send aid according to an article in the New York Times today September 5th.

It makes us look again at American disaster movies with a new light. The very lack of heroism goes against the movie theme of one strong man taking charge. In modern America then no one takes charge? We all came out of War of the Worlds this summer depressed because Tom Cruise was no hero and just saved his family rather than tackle the monsters. Well it seems Spielberg is right, in this America we will just sit back and let anarchy take over.

No doubt FEMA will explain it was everyone else's fault no one came to New Orleans rescue but America will also have look into it's own heart and wonder why such chaos developed and the looting began.

New Orleans was warned it was living on borrowed time and yes money has been diverted to Iraq, but should there be a city there at all? What will happen to all those evacuated? How on earth will they be able to rebuild their lives? How do you start rebuilding a million homes? Sure the rebuilding will give jobs and bring a future boom time but meanwhile, there will be a lot of trauma, the death toll will rise and then there is the psychological impact on those dispossessed and those who have to take them in. Texas is full and the strains are already showing. Everyone is worried about who will pay for all this.
It's going to be tough. We have a reader's response to the disaster here> Katrina Fallout

It is Hurricane time still. Getting hit by one is like winning a lottery you never entered. I know what it is like, for I was in Miami in ’99 when one swept through. Katrina was much worse and the economic fallout will be huge.
Once it is over will people in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi think about global warming? Or is this just an accepted part of living on the edge of the Gulf? Something you learn to live with. The North gets snow, the south gets hurricanes, - a natural cycle? Or is it, as some scientists say, a foretaste of things to come. The forces will get stronger, more regular and we will have to think about moving whole cities and populations further inland?

To that end, for those that don’t believe the evidence that the ice caps are melting, Canada is paying much greater attention to its northern territories now. As the ice retreats more each year and the weather turns nasty elsewhere, it might be that everything has to shift upwards. They can see global warming in action.
You’re thinking, ‘no that’s crazy, do you know what it will cost to move just one city, never mind several’, but it is a possibility and that’s all thanks to global warming.

In Europe many cities are vulnerable. All of Holland is in lowland. Much of the English East Coast is also. No not vulnerable to Hurricanes to be sure, but inundation’s for sure. (It happened in 1953 and 300 people drowned).
One would like to see an aerial map of England in Roman times before the ditches and dykes were dug. Towns like my birthplace Louth, in Lincolnshire, were ports in Roman times and it is nearly 20 miles from the sea. Could we really give away 20 miles of the UK coastline? We may have to.

Can New Orleans remain in the bowl, keeping out the Gulf forever with ever higher levees? Can anything be done to halt global warming? Gas prices at $3 bucks plus a gallon might just serve as a wake up call to SUV drivers, but hey, we over here dream of such cheap gas. We are paying $8 (for an Imperial gallon) in the UK. More, if like me, you are driving diesel.

I think that is the debate to come. If, and you have to accept the science first, global warming is real and the storms are only going to get worse and stronger; how much will it cost to make US costal cities storm proof? How much would it cost to let the old cities die and then build new ones in safer areas? Too incredible to think about? Well maybe we will have to think about it one day – sooner than you think.

Postscript: I am happy to hear the dolphins have survived Sept 15th.

If you'd like to make a contribution to the American Red Cross for New Orleans go here

Sept 20th:
Lucky us we saw Keira in 'Pride and Prejudice' with the scriptwriter Deborah Moggach and the first time feature director Joe Wright decoding his adaptation afterwards. Good to see that it is a big success at the UK box office this past weekend. On Wednesday we were at an all day workshop on adapting novels to the screen at BAFTA. Standout was an hour with Ronald Harwood who illuminated his adaptation processes on 'The Pianist' (for which he won an Oscar) and the upcoming 'Oliver Twist' also for Roman Polanski which looks very interesting. He has just finished adapting 'Love in the Time of Cholera'- which should be good... An amusing and talented man. We also saw the wonderful .'You, Me, Everyone We know' Directed and starring the amazing Miranda July. If you haven't seen this film, go, it is totally eccentric but utterly absorbing. Be prepared to be surprised and a little shocked.

For anyone contemplating on submitting to Hacks for October and in future we have changed our email address- so check out the submissions page for details.
We are looking for lively, honest well written journalism on varied topics - travel, politics, life and good short fiction. We look for an international perspective, so welcome submissions in English from all over the world. Yes we reject quite a lot too, for lots of reasons, quality of writing, racist or sexist overtones, lack of research or sense of humour but in general, we have loyal readers as well as writers and the current stats show that we are getting a small but healthy readership of 1600 a day. We don't want to be google, we want to continue as a small niche respected magazine and you the potential writer or reader make that happen. Support us and oh yes buy Sam's books - details below - it's the only revenue we get darn it.

** My new book The Curse of the Nibelung - A Sherlock Holmes Mystery has just been released September 2005
Copies can be ordered from all the usual on-line retailers and via the web link here:

Sam North - Editor

We at Hacks are self supporting and if you want to support us, buy Sam's books - All the funds from the sale of the book go back into the site. See below.

The Curse of the Nibelung
A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
by Sam North

ISBN 1-4116-3748-8
$19.98 Retail - 300 pages - Lulu Press USA

'Chocolate will never be the same again'
- Sunday Express

Buy from your favourite on-line retailer
Amazon UK
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Buy direct from Lulu Press at special price of $12.95 US

If you are looking for a good read Sam North's book Diamonds - The Rush of '72 is available also.
$19.95 from in the USA or on special offer from the publishers direct - see box below.

Or buy direct from the publisher from only $12.95 plus shipping

Diamonds - The Rush of '72
By Sam North

Buy now from
'a terrific piece of storytelling' Historical Novel Society Review

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